Sikhs demand justice

More than 200 members of the Kelowna Sikh community participated in a silent protest, Sunday, to bring awareness to growing tensions in India.

In June, the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib was stolen from the Sikh Gurdwara temple in Northern India. A few months later, it was discovered in the village of Bargari with 20 pages torn out. Sikhs in the northern Indian state of Punjab then staged demonstrations due to lack of action by local police.

Two people were killed and at least 75 injured when tensions mounted between police and protesters at one of the protests, according to India Today. At least 6,000 Sikhs have protested across the country.

In the Okanagan, and elsewhere in Canada, Sikhs are following the situation in India with growing concern about citizens' right to protest.

Akaljot Singh Gill of Kelowna said he and others strongly encourage authorities to take action and bring those responsible for the desecration of the holy book to justice.

"We want to see Sikhs and residents of Punjab to live in peace and harmony," he said.

Gill and others in the local Sikh community believe leaders from both the Indian and Punjab governments are failing to take action.

Sikhs represent approximately 1.8 per cent of India’s population. As a visible minority, they are targeted by the state, claimed Tarsem Singh Goraya, president Kelowna Gurdwara Guru Amar Das.

"Our community is deeply concerned of the events taking place in India," he said.

In Canada, there are approximately 600,000 Sikhs, who predominately reside in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world, with more than 30 million followers worldwide.


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